Y'all are a bunch of wankers!

tired of working hard

It's odd, I've always been a hard worker.  But now I find myself drawn to the mundane and repetitive.  I feel like I've already put in my time working hard, now it's time to put all that hard work to use.  I notice it with programming - I have no real desire to learn new things on my own time anymore.  I notice it with music.  I used to practice 4 hours a day, then in college 1.5 hrs a day.  Now it's hard to motivate myself to get through 45 mins a day, and I keep thinking, I've already done the hard work.  Can't I just have fun with my students?  And I guess I could... but then I feel I'm shortchanging myself, that I *could* be so much more if I tried... not living up to potential and all.  And when it comes down to actually trying, I don't want to anymore.

I am actually above average in programming (as stated by managers - no superstar, but solid and quick on the uptake) and well above average in music.  In some ways this contributes to the lack of motivation.
Permalink the great purple 
March 12th, 2007 12:18pm
pull up! pull up! pull up!

First of all, take that vacation. 

Second, at the higher levels of something the progress is fitful.  (or so I've heard from friends of friends who are, you know, good at stuff).  That can be fustrating. Recognize progress can be slow and celebrate the successes you've already had.

Third, hey, it's your life, so don't beat yourself up for having a little fun.  Play is important.  You could play all the time, but the fact that you're beating yourself up about it makes me think you won't be happy there.

Four, focus on the starting. Just practice a hard piece. Or read a dozen pages in a programming book.  Don't look so long at the mountain you are summiting. The action is at your feet. (Do check out the mountain you're walking towards long and hard every so often and make sure it is the right one.  Perhaps you aren't meant to get better at playing the piano, but rather to learn to teach better? Perhaps you aren't meant to learn the ins and outs of C++, but to learn the techniques of UI design?)

This concludes zed's pithy internet advice, vol. 1 in an ongoing series.
Permalink zed 
March 12th, 2007 12:32pm
I think there is no point learning or practicing something just for the sake of it. There has to be a purpose to motivate you. So with music, why put in 45 mins a day only because you "ought to"? Motivation will be easier to find if you are regularly performing say, and you don't want your performances to let you down. Or in your teaching, if the practicing is necessary to do justice to that. Also, what is music except a means to enjoyment? Find ways to make your musical talent entertaining for yourself and those around you, and the motivation will be there.
Permalink Send private email bon vivant 
March 12th, 2007 12:51pm
What you enjoy is allowed to changed over time. At least that was in the handbook I was given.

Perhaps there is a sense of loss when we look in the mirror and we realize we are no longer who we were and that feeling is driven home again when we realize we don't even like the same things anymore. Think of it as a grieving process. Don't hang on to the dead. Let them go.
Permalink son of parnas 
March 12th, 2007 12:58pm
I totally agree with that sentiment.  Sometimes you've changed and you need to turn to something new.  It might be a just a  change in the same or it might be something totally new.  On the other hand...... sometimes the thing you want is just hard and you need to buckle down and do.
Permalink zed 
March 12th, 2007 1:00pm
Practice harder not longer. Jimmy Connors was famous for barely practicing an hour a day. But it was the best damn hour anyone did. This was way back in the day when he was racking up the longest number 1 spot record (only bested a few weeks ago by the insurmountable Roger Federer).

The fact is: you practiced 4 hours a day when you were young to build to a certain level. Now you practice to maintain the level - which is much simpler. A novice adult who practices 4 hours of music today will probably never get to your level ever, even if you never practice again.

There's that short movie ... 'Two Hands'. The dude didn't play with his right hand for 40 years, and yet when he got his back mobility back he was still a world-class pianist. Muscle memory from childhood keeps.

http://www.dailynews.com/redcarpet/ci_5266602
Permalink Send private email strawberry snowflake 
March 12th, 2007 1:01pm
If what I imagine your is is correct, I guess you can't take much of a break or stop working hard.

There's a quote that goes something like talent hits a target which others can't hit but genius hits a target which others can't see.

If you are very proficient in music you can check what others similar to you are doing or have already done and try something different but on similar lines. Since you say you are well above average in music, you may be kind of near to a 'visible target' or have reached it already. If you can think of another target to go on I feel that there'll be no lack of motivation and you'll enjoy the hard work as you have always had.
Permalink Send private email Senthilnathan N.S. 
March 12th, 2007 1:11pm
> If what I imagine your is is correct, I guess you can't take much of a break or stop working hard.

...your nature is is correct,...
Permalink Send private email Senthilnathan N.S. 
March 12th, 2007 1:12pm
"I think there is no point learning or practicing something just for the sake of it. There has to be a purpose to motivate you. So with music, why put in 45 mins a day only because you "ought to"?"

Yes, well, I have a performance coming up.  It's hard to convince myself that it's important, that the level of polish that I *could* produce is really necessary.  Easy to think that where I'm at is "good enough" even though I know that with music there's always room for improvement.

I think it's more generalized though.  In Hinduism they talk about the four phases of life.  The first stage is the learning stage, and the second stage is the "householder" stage.  I think that emotionally I'm ready to be in the "householder" stage and leave all the learning behind.  Does that make sense?  But at the same time I feel like I'm shortchanging my talents, giving up, by making that decision.  Not that you ever stop learning, but I'm not interested in doing it in a focussed way anymore.
Permalink the great purple 
March 12th, 2007 1:17pm
"Muscle memory from childhood keeps."

An excellent point.  I was actually quite shocked that I was better than the kids at playing the violin, despite not having touched the instrument in years.  All the little tips and tricks came back easily.  Musical memory from childhood keeps too.  Stuff I learned as a kid (even in high school) I will never forget, but stuff I learned last year I have to keep revisiting to recall.
Permalink the great purple 
March 12th, 2007 1:20pm
What are the third and fourth stages?
Permalink Send private email Senthilnathan N.S. 
March 12th, 2007 1:21pm
"If you can think of another target to go on I feel that there'll be no lack of motivation and you'll enjoy the hard work as you have always had."

I think what I'm dealing with is guilt for not caring.
Permalink the great purple 
March 12th, 2007 1:21pm
"I think what I'm dealing with is guilt for not caring."

You mean that you didn't care for people because of your interest in music?
Permalink Send private email Senthilnathan N.S. 
March 12th, 2007 1:23pm
The other two stages are retirement and asceticism.
Permalink the great purple 
March 12th, 2007 1:23pm
"You mean that you didn't care for people because of your interest in music?"

???????

Nonono.  I no longer care to reach higher goals.  I feel guilty about that.
Permalink the great purple 
March 12th, 2007 1:24pm
Got it.
Permalink Send private email Senthilnathan N.S. 
March 12th, 2007 1:27pm
> I no longer care to reach higher goals.

The notion of what is higher was itself programmed into you by your culture at a young age. Part of the transformational journey of sloughing off past lives is you begin to define your base programming for yourself.
Permalink son of parnas 
March 12th, 2007 1:30pm
You have TDE syndrome.

Too Damned Easy. That's what I am calling it, and I am glad to hear I'm not the only one.

Even if things require a time investment, if I know they are easily doable, it is hard to motivate myself to do them. Matters of time just don't interest me. Matters of challenge do.

Maybe you don't find things challenging, just time consuming. I haven't figured out what to do about this yet, but fingering the problem is supposed to be a good first step in anything.
Permalink Send private email JoC 
March 12th, 2007 1:38pm
SoP has a good point about the notion of what's higher.

"I think that emotionally I'm ready to be in the "householder" stage and leave all the learning behind.  Does that make sense?"

It doesn't make sense at all for me. Imagine how difficult it would be to do the learning again. It's as good as studying engineering, work for 5 years and switching to medicine. It doesn't make sense at all. If you didn't like engineering and had always wanted to get out it's fine. Though time is lost, you know you'll be going towards something you wanted to do and away from something you didn't enjoy much.

I'm a Hindu and I've heard something on these stages but didn't remember them well. The four stages may have made sense when Hinduism was in its early stages. I don't think that it makes sense today, at least from whatever I've seen in life.
Permalink Send private email Senthilnathan N.S. 
March 12th, 2007 1:43pm
"Even if things require a time investment, if I know they are easily doable, it is hard to motivate myself to do them. Matters of time just don't interest me. Matters of challenge do. "

I call bullshit.  You're looking for something challenging and quick.  Maybe you should buy an XBOX?

Challenge comes and is surmounted by investing time and effort.  Maybe you're surrounded by busywork. That's possible.  But more likely is you're afraid of failure and of judgement, so you declare everything you're faced with not challenging and too time consuming for you. 

All those cheesy quotes about inspiration and perspiration? They're true.
Permalink zed 
March 12th, 2007 1:49pm
"Imagine how difficult it would be to do the learning again."

That's not what I mean, really.  How can you just forget everything you ever learned?  I mean that I think I should have learned enough, now, to not have to put so much effort into learning anymore.  Surely, after all these years of hard work, I can coast a bit?  I'm willing to do work, but not *study*.  If I happen to learn or get better as a result of the work I'm doing that's different.
Permalink the great purple 
March 12th, 2007 1:59pm
"Matters of time just don't interest me. Matters of challenge do."

Yeah - not my problem.  I want a bit of challenge, of course, to keep things interesting.  But mostly I want to do things that I already know how to do.
Permalink the great purple 
March 12th, 2007 2:00pm
> "Imagine how difficult it would be to do the learning again."

It's not hard to relearn stuff you learned once. It's new stuff that's hard or almost impossible. If you haven't put a SQL schema into normalized form by age 30, you may never get the intuitive hang of it.
Permalink Send private email strawberry snowflake 
March 12th, 2007 2:02pm
I think SoP has most correctly understood what I'm talking about.  It's a time of changing priorities in my life, and I'm having a hard time letting go of the old.

Although it's very interesting to see how people interpret my post in light of their own lives.
Permalink the great purple 
March 12th, 2007 2:12pm
It doesn't sound like you're having trouble letting go of old priorities. The motivational level is leading the way. It would be different if you were equally excited by multiple priorities -- then there would be the angst of choosing, rather than the resignation of having been chosen ("I want to coast on my past laurels, now").
Permalink bleaty heartsheep 
March 12th, 2007 2:19pm
It's the shift - "I want to DO" rather than "I want to LEARN" that I was referring to.  But you're right, it's not like I'm up for new challenges, exactly.
Permalink the great purple 
March 12th, 2007 2:21pm
"Although it's very interesting to see how people interpret my post in light of their own lives."

How did you expect them to interpret it? 

Through the lens of their favorite historical figures?  As if the post came from the protagonist of a recent novel?  Will the view toward explaining what the existential everyman would do?
Permalink zed 
March 12th, 2007 2:23pm
"Maybe you should buy an XBOX?"

Heh. Sarcasm? I do have one. I game quite a bit. I like things that are very hard. I'll usually crank anything to the hardest difficulty it can possibly be.

There is perhaps some truth in your calling BS. I think it does go that way too. But I don't fear failure, or hard work.

I fear large time investment with subsequent feelings of little accomplishment. It's probably because I look to the end of the road and just write it off as unworthy of the journey. Maybe this is a sort of false veil for underachievement also. If it is, what do you do about it?

I'm just very results oriented. I need constant feedback showing progression.
Permalink Send private email JoC 
March 12th, 2007 2:25pm
I think it was pretty obvious what you were saying. Shifting from the learn phase to the do phase. See the Jimmy Connors anecdote above. Everyone, even "professional learners" like professors, do it.
Permalink Send private email strawberry snowflake 
March 12th, 2007 2:26pm
It's ok not to practice more than one hour a day if teaching is what you enjoy the most.
Permalink Send private email Rick, try writing better English 
March 12th, 2007 2:33pm
"I fear large time investment with subsequent feelings of little accomplishment. It's probably because I look to the end of the road and just write it off as unworthy of the journey."

There must be something you feel is worth doing?  Getting good at. Trying hard for. Brainstorm a little.

"I'm just very results oriented. I need constant feedback showing progression."

I'm the same way.  I don't have a good answer for you.  The advice is all over the map.  Do what's easy. Do what comes naturally.  All new beginnings are hard.  Everything worth doing is hard.

That's part of the fun of programming isn't it?  You can setup a quick feedback loop and you're often seeing progress either in your skills and knowledge or in the product. 

I find you can set this feedback loop up in a lot of other things.  Get a coach or a mentor, who can tell you what you're doing right and wrong.  And measure everything you can measure.
Permalink zed 
March 12th, 2007 7:15pm